Liquid paraffin comes in two forms that should not be confused with each other. They each have many uses in multiple fields and industries. One form of liquid paraffin is a highly refined form of kerosene, which is used as fuel. The other is a very highly refined mineral oil that has various uses, such as in cosmetic and medicinal applications.
Liquid Paraffin Fuel
One of the primary uses of liquid paraffin is fuel. Liquid paraffin is a highly distilled and refined form of kerosene that can be burnt in lamps and other devices. The fuel produces no soot and no odour when burnt, which makes it a more attractive fuel option than unrefined kerosene.
Industrial and Textile Uses
Liquid paraffin is mainly used as a lubricant in various industrial settings. It can be used to lubricate blades that cut paper and in mechanical mixing. It is also a component of many air filters, particularly air filters that function underwater. It can be used as a hydraulic fluid in machinery.
The uses of liquid paraffin in the textile industry mostly involve lubrication. Liquid paraffin is an oil component used for spinning, weaving and meshing materials. Sewing machine lubrication typically contains liquid paraffin also.
Liquid paraffin can used to clean your hands after working with abrasive materials like cement.
Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses
Liquid paraffin has many uses in the medical field. Because liquid paraffin passes through the body's intestinal tract without being absorbed, it can be used as a laxative to limit the amount of water removed from the stool and ease constipation. It is used in the penicillin production process and is also used in some eye lubricants. Liquid paraffin can be used to ease diaper rash and eczema irritation.
The cosmetic industry also makes good use of liquid paraffin. The substance is used in various beauty products, including detergent creams, cold creams, hydrated creams, bronzed oils and make-up products. It can also be used as an emollient lotion to treat dry skin.
Liquid paraffin is highly useful in many other fields. For example, it is an ingredient in many agricultural insecticides. Liquid paraffin is a component in the manufacture and containment of reactive gases like sulphur dioxide and chlorine. It is often used in infrared spectroscopy. It can be applied to baking tins to make removing cooked food easier. It is also used to make many food items like apples appear shiny for a centrepiece display.